When You are Struggling as a Mother

Ever get the feeling that you are falling short?  So do I.

 

Parenting then…

 

As the mother of two teens I have graduated from diaper changing and interrupted sleep to children who have selective hearing and have formed their own strong opinions.  Sometimes I long for the times when my kids were toddlers and Mommy and Daddy had the final say.  Those days are long gone now…

 

I can remember their sweet little innocent faces with big eyes and them running into my arms when I got home to give me a hug and I wish that I would have cherished those moments more.  When I see babies I just stare at their tiny feet and itty-bitty fingers remembering a time when I had babies that small.

 

When my children were little I was totally preoccupied with work, with friends, and with stress.   There I was, a frazzled mom trying to juggle a million things at once and at the time I wasn’t even walking with the Lord.  I was so busy that when I think back I can only remember fragments of precious memories.  What I remember most about that time was having a feeling of frustration.  I was frustrated that I wasn’t living up to my own expectation of what a good mother was.  I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough time to do what I wanted to do, and lastly I was frustrated because I felt like I was missing out.

 

The truth was that I WAS missing out.  I was missing out on the joy of motherhood because I had a set of different priorities.

 

strugglingmother

 

Parenting now…

 

Fast forward to today and things are a little different.  Now I am walking with the Lord and I have cut time from my work schedule to be more present with my kids.

 

The difference is that now instead of having little ones who are eager for my attention, I am the one running after theirs.  They are teens who are learning how to be independent and really don’t want Mommy holding their hand.  Now it has become a balancing act of instilling all of the Godly advice that should have been poured into them during their elementary years and loving them when they make the wrong choices.

 

On one hand I feel tremendous guilt for not doing a better job when they were little and using my time more wisely, then on the other hand I’m glad I still have time left to impart His wisdom into them.  I feel like I’m playing catch-up and I blame myself for their mistakes.


Then I noticed there is a similarity between these two moments in my life.  I felt less than when my kids were small, and I feel less than now.  Could it be that Jesus knew before-hand that I wasn’t going to be the perfect mom, but He knew I’d be the perfect mom for my kids?  Oh yes, I think so.

 

I find that with every trial that comes at me as a parent, the enemy wants nothing more than to make me feel defeated as a Mother.  He is the one whispering that I’m unworthy, it’s too late to make changes, and that I’ve failed.

 

That is a tremendous lie.

 

Motherhood is a Ministry

 

My kids are worth every ounce of my fight just as Jesus thinks we are worth His blood that was shed at the cross.  The truth is that there is no one else in the world who could do a better job at mothering my kids than me because I have Jesus residing in me.  We will all make mistakes and fall short but our job is to keep on pressing on, teaching and loving on our kids with every last ounce of energy left in us.  That way they may continually see His light within us as their parents.


I’m learning that motherhood is my everlasting ministry.  Like all other forms of ministry things will be hard, errors will be made, and faith will be found.  There are many situations that are just out of my control and Jesus whispers “Bring them here to Me, lay them down at My feet”.

 

 

“Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me.  Don’t stop them!
For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”
Luke 13:16

My kids are really not my own but on loan from God.  My heart is to stay in a tender place for my kids and keep them lifted up in prayer day in and day out.  As our Father, Jesus knows my heart as a parent and He cares for my kids more than I can even conceive of.  The struggle is not ours alone, but God’s.  My mother said something to me when I was a brand-new mother of a newborn calling her because I was so tired and weary.  That advice stuck with me all of my life.  She said “this moment you are in will pass, it’s temporary”.

Encouragement

 

If you are an exhausted mother of little ones remember that there will come a time when you won’t be able to lift your kids off their feet and cuddle them in your arms.  There will come a time when they will be too old to go to Sunday School and learn about Jesus while finger painting.  The hugs you give them and the prayers you say over them will stay with them always.  Time doesn’t stop for anyone so relish those moments.

 

If you are a stressed mother of teens, know that reading the word with your kids impacts them, extending grace for their mistakes encourages them, and disciplining them teaches them lessons.  Speak to your teens about the Lord and listen to them.  This time will pass too.

 

Nothing that we instill into our children will be lost.

 

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Proverbs 22:6

With all my love,

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    • Thank you sweet Brittany,
      I believe that motherhood is probably our biggest ministry because we have the responsibility to raise up God’s children with His truth. We are called to not only speak it, but live it. Ministry is in the home with our families.

  • Thank you Natalie, for sharing this. As a mother to two beautiful children with severe autism, I have felt like a failure every day of the week. My husband and I are exhausted all the time, and we’re sure our kids are too. At the moment we are going through some particular challenges that seem to have no end. Thank you for the reminder that this is temporary; that God’s got this.

    My husband and I know that in Jesus’ Name we are victorious over this assignment of autism that the enemy has placed against us. But sometimes we need extra encouragement, so thanks so much for providing that for me today.

    • Oh sweet Cassandra,
      All glory be to God. I’m so glad this post spoke to your heart and please know that you are not alone. Although many people do not face the challenge of have two children with autism there are certainly many other battles that each of us face that seem daunting as parents. God will get us through. Even when things are rough and when we don’t see how it will improve, God promises that it will. Trust that. He doesn’t lie. Hang in there sweet sister and may the Lord Jesus bless you with rest and reassurance.

  • You described feelings we can all relate to and the refreshing reality of the gospel applied! Thank you! So easy to forget we are never adequate and weren’t meant to be or else what need of Christ would we have? He paid our sin debt dying the death we should have died and just as important lived the life we should have lived. We need Him just as much as when He first saved us. Parenting really sanctifies! Whew! 😉 Great job!

    • All glory be to God Gretchen,
      I fall short every single day and yet the Lord is there to pick me up and dust me off. I will always need Him to show me the way and help me to be the Mother I am meant to be. Thank you so much for your uplifting comment : )

  • Natalie, first of all your site is gorgeous!! Second, I am so glad I discovered it today because this topic is huge for me! Motherhood is such an amazing calling, and pouring ourselves into even through the hard and messy, will reap rewards unfathomable. I have always called motherhood the delight of my heart, and now that my 3 children are college age, I am so grateful for the fact that God would entrust me with these 3 souls! Your passion and intention shows, and I’d love for you to join the Fresh Market Friday community link-up @crystaltwaddell.com…it’s all about sharing what we are most passionate and intentional about in our life.

    • Wow! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and courteous invite : ) I just love sharing what God is doing in my life with others. Not only that but it brings me such comfort to see how He is moving in other’s lives. God is good!

    • Thank you for stopping in Mertie! I will most certainly write more about this subject per your request. I’d also love to help to encourage you as a fellow Mother. We aren’t in this alone…Jesus is guiding us every step of the way.